Good morning all! You have made it halfway through the week! Good work!
Today’s scripture: PSALM 147:1-11
1 Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the animals their food,
and to the young ravens when they cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Last night the McMinnville Women’s Choir got together to have a little party. We wanted to eat and drink together, process our last gig, and talk about the future together. We started by going around the circle and talking about how we felt about the gig last week. This turned into basically gushing about how much we love the group and how much we love singing with other women. Many talked about how much they loved the song selection and how we are starting to care for each other and about how much we love laughing together as well as singing together. We told hilarious and touching stories about our recent experience when we sang with hundreds of other voices at the Community Choir Celebration. We told stories that felt really safe with a group of women friends. All in all we had a great time.
As we were talking about the future of our community, every once in a while, we would also just burst into song. Now, I have to admit to you all right here pretty publicly that sometimes I think bursting into song as a group can be kind of cheesy. But this wasn’t the case with this group. Maybe it was because it was so authentic to where we were coming from. Maybe we are just really comfy with one another. Maybe it is the fact that we all truly love singing and it was a song that we could all get right away that wasn’t a cheesy song. But to me this felt extremely authentic and lovely. There was one woman in the group who will be joining us but had not joined us yet. She sat with amazement at how our voices could just pick up with one another’s voices. We will see her next Tuesday because of it I think.
Another piece of this is to acknowledge that song is part of life. It lifts out of us sometimes unexpectedly. For myself, I sing away all day. I sing about what I need to do, where I am going, I sing from point A to point B. I have had roommates where we have singing days…responding in whatever song comes out. I grew up singing in choirs, with my dad, and in different settings. Song is an expression that everyone can do. Some people say, “Oh, I can’t sing!” And here’s the thing…you totally can. Even if the world tells you it’s noise or that it’s off…it is an expression of song that has come out of you. You can sing!
John Wesley had these rules for singing in 1761:
1. Sing all.
2. Sing lustily, and with good courage.
3. Sing modestly.
4. Sing in time.
5. Above all, sing spiritually.
There are parts of the rules under each section. My favorite is number two. He continues to say under Rule 2. “Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep, but lift up your voice with strength.”
When I worked for Sierra Service Project we said, “We sing to express, not impress.” And for the Psalmist singing praises is good for God. In fact, for the Psalmist singing these praises is the only way to express this gratitude felt.
So today, sing a song. It doesn’t matter what kind of song or which song or even if you made it up. Lift up your voice in gratitude…in some expression of your connection to God. Sing out! Sing to express! Sing in community or in your room while you work. Enjoy!